23/7: Pelican Bay Prison and the Rise of Long-Term Solitary Confinement by Keramet Reiter. Yale University Press, paper. Solitary confinement in US prisons has become long-term and common. Reiter has selected this particular prison in California and how it has created mental havoc with incredible social costs.
A World of Homeowners; American Power and the Policies of Housing Aid by Nancy Kwak. University of Chicago Press. Paper. The institution of homeownership became one of our major exports after World War II. The argument was that it would give families a greater stake in the nation and jumpstart the home-building industry, both helping to ward off the specter of Communism
Big-Time Sports in American Universities by Charles Clotfelter. Cambridge University Press. Paper. Commercial sports have become a core function of state universities. What are their values to the institution?
Generation Priced Out; Who Gets to Live in the New Urban America by Randy Shaw. University of California Press. Skyrocketing rents and home values are pricing the working and middle classes out of urban America.
The Creative Destruction of New York City; Engineering the City for the Elite by Alessandro Busà. Oxford University Press. Years of drastic rezoning and rebranding that have resulted in a gilded city of glass towers but also greater differences in class and caste.
ABC Sports; The Rise and Fall of Network Sports Television by Travis Vogan. University of California Press. Paper. The American Broadcasting Company has fostered a culture of sports broadcasting including the sports’ personality which has been much copied here and elsewhere.
The Fifth Risk; Undoing Democracy by Michael Lewis. W.W. Norton. A tour of the mechanics of government and why we should be concerned about someone with access who carries a monkey-wrench.
The Dawn of Detroit; A Chronicle of Slavery and Freedom in the City of the Straits by Tiya Miles. The New Press. Miles won the American Book Award in 2018,
Cutting School; Privatization, Segregation, and the End of Public Education by Noliwe Rocks. The New Press. An indictment of the corporate takeover of education and the privatization of separate and unequal school; the dismantling of public education in America.
Broadway to Main Street; How Show Tunes Enchanted America by Laurence Maslon. Oxford University Press. How the songs of the American musical theater made their way into living rooms across the country.
Which Side Are You On? 20th Century American History in 100 Protest Songs by James Sullivan. A topical category of songwriting that often preaches to the already converted. Still listening to songs of protest has always been good food for thought.